NatureServe is working with the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies that are developing a National Wetlands Mitigation Plan, in order to provide them with effective biological and functional indicators that will help establish performance standards for wetland mitigation. This report outlines our approach to establishing performance standards for wetlands mitigation using an improved version of our methodology for conducting ecological integrity assessments.
We chose 18 wetland ecological systems, from fens to swamps, playas, flatwoods, and marshes. Relying primarily on literature sources and field wetland manuals, we identified indicators and metrics for assessing ecological integrity by:
using a standardized classification of wetland types, including diagnostic characteristics;
identifying key ecological attributes and indicators of each system, with protocols for measuring those indicators to ensure consistent field measurements and documentation;
identifying practical metrics with ratings and thresholds based on “normal’ or “natural” benchmarks; and
providing a scorecard matrix by which the indicators/metrics are rated and integrated into an overall assessment of the ecological integrity of the wetland.
The NatureServe report has been formally peer reviewed by a panel of independent scientists. Based on the results of that review, a commentary was prepared to reconcile issues raised by the panel, and is included in the back of the original report. The main text of the original report remains unchanged because of plans for the preparation of a new revised version of the report. The revised report is expected to be published by NatureServe in late 2007.